A Sparkly Christmas Wedding

Real Weddings

“We had a Christmassy vibe too decor wise but again I didn’t think too deeply about this.”


Names: Aisling Tormey & Tony Dunne

Length of engagement: 2 years

Wedding Date: 28/12/2018

Wedding ceremony location: Carmelite Church, Moate, Co.Westmeath

Wedding reception location: Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa, Dunboyne, Co.Meath

Photographer: Darren Byrne Photography & Film


We met in Huntington Beach in California while we were both on our J1’s. I was in third year of college and went with five of my friends, Tony was studying in Edinburgh and went with four of his friends. One of my best friends Rose, who was later my bridesmaid, ended up chatting to one of the lads on a J1 in Huntington Beach facebook page and randomly decided we’d all live together – dodgy to think of now but luckily it worked out very well!!



Our proposal – We were living in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time and decided to go to Fiji for New Years. We had gone to a show on our resort that night which was a bit rubbish so went for a drink in the bar. We were just sat with our drinks when Tony said he needed to go to the toilet….but up in the room…I thought why is he telling me this! So I sat there while he went off and when he came back he wanted to go for a walk to the beach to get some pics. Now at this stage it was late evening and the sun was going down so you couldn’t see much at all which made me really think something was up and I had a sudden thought – he’s going to propose. So we walked to the beach, my heart going ninety and he tells me to walk over to some wall to get a pic, the whole time my heart is going insane thinking omg this is it when I turn around….So I turn around……and there he is with his phone taking my picture and I’m now like ok, I’m officially crazy, I need to relax and get a few pics taken. What I hadn’t realised was that a group of people had walked past and Tony wanted to do it while we were alone so as soon as they were out of earshot Tony comes over to me and says there’s another reason I asked you here, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. (Pretty sure I said yes but the night is a blur after that ha!) Also him “going to the toilet” was his cunning plan to get the ring which he had left in the room ha!



Our wedding theme/colours I didn’t think too deeply into this, our theme started off as a travelling theme as we had done so much travelling in our time. Our Save the Dates were luggage tags and our invites were passports. We had a Christmassy vibe too decor wise but again I didn’t think too deeply about this. My flowers I just wanted plain white for myself and a wee touch of pink for the bridesmaids with a hint of sparkle to tie in with their dresses which were grey with small sequins and diamontes.



Things we DIY’d/made ourselves – Our favours were honey pots as my dad has two hives so he made the honey himself with wee luggage tags around them saying “honey I do”, they went down so well and people went around robbing them from various tables ha! Were not big into DIY – I’m not creative at all so didn’t do too much of this!



My dress… I bought my dress in Paperswan Bridal in Christchurch, New Zealand. I didnt have this “It’s the one” moment, It was the one I loved more than any of the others I had tried on in New Zealand, Ireland or England. I think sometimes people can get bogged down with thinking they have to have this feeling about the dress and get disappointed but I really don’t think everyone has it! It was an all over lace dress named Daisy, I absolutely loved it, it was so comfortable.



My hair and make up – I booked the Powder room girls and had Lida for makeup and Declan for hair. We had a near disaster when they couldnt find my address that morning but luckily flew through us all and got us looking fab for the day.



His suit – Esquire in Limerick, cannot speak more highly of this place. They were so helpful as most of our bridal party were overseas and not coming till the week before the wedding.



What our bridal party wore – Bridesmaids were in full length grey dresses from Pamela Scott.



Our ceremony We had our ceremony in my father’s hometown, Moate in Co.Westmeath. Me being from Dundalk, Co. Louth and Tony being from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary it made sense to us to meet somewhere in the middle. Sadly, my cousin Anna passed away suddenly on Christmas Day three days before our wedding. Her funeral was in the same church the day after my wedding. Our preist Fr. Tony Gavin was brilliant he officiated over our wedding and my cousin’s funeral and was a real rock of support to us all.



We chose our photographer because Darren made us feel at ease from our first phone call. We wanted a relaxed unbotrusive person but someone who could also crack the whip when needed and he did both in a professional manner. We had a lot of guests ask us who he was and commented on how brilliant he was at fitting in with the crowd. We have so many amazing shots but one in particular that stands out is of my Uncle Lou hugging me after our wedding ceremony. He passed away suddenly in February and that picture is so precious to me now. Our videographer was Julianna O’Shea who at the time worked with Darren but has now gone out on her own. Our video came out brilliantly, so delighted we got it and we loved seeing bits of the wedding that we weren’t around for.



We chose our venue because we loved the contemporary feel of Dunboyne mixed in with its old Georgian House which was originally built in 1764. The Tara Ballroom is a gorgeous setting for a wedding function, the wall lights in the shape of leaves really caught my eye when we first went to view Dunboyne and we absolutely loved that there was a bar in the actual room so people didn’t have to leave to get their drinks.

Another thing we loved was the fact that we got to have the library in the Georgian House for our bridal party and immediate family for when we arrived – there were canapes, prosecco and mulled wine ready for us and gave us a breather with family to enjoy a few moments together before heading in to see all our guests. We felt that is such a lovely touch and so important.

Another reason we chose Dunboyne was for its function room for our second day, it’s decorated like an old man pub with little booths and a communal area with a large fireplace. We had Liam Byrne play the second day and ordered food from Dunboyne and it was a fab night, real cosy and the perfect spot to have the craic and catch up with everyone after the main event!



Our menu –

To start was Chicken, Mushroom and Smoked pancetta Mille-Feuille,

Leek and Potato Soup,

Choice of main was Grilled 8oz Fillet of Irish Angus Beef with Gratin Potatoes, Shallot & butter spinach, Jameson Whiskey and Wild Mushroom Sauce or Pan fried Fillet of Monkfish with Creamed Leek and Parma Ham and Red Pepper Couli.

Dessert was Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Caramel Sauce & Honeycomb Shards.



Our cake – Janey’s Cakery – we had a lego themed cake as my husband loves it. He is an engineer and I’m a nurse so on two tiers we had construction men and on one tier we had a hospital scene all made out of lego. We had the lego bricks in our county colours – Tipperary and Louth.



Our honeymoon – We went for two nights to Miami, stayed in Grand Beach Hotel, it was gorgeous, we had our own wee suite and they gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne which was a nice start to our trip! We then went on a 10 day cruise “Best of Cuba” with Royal Carribbean on Empress of the Seas. Our favourite places on that were Key West, Florida and of course, Havanna, Cuba. This was all organised by Susan Ryan of Travel Counsellors based in Nenagh, she was super helpful and thoughtful, gave us a gorgeous personalised frame with all the places that we were going to on honeymoon. I will definitely be using her again.



My favourite part of the wedding day – I remember taking a moment at the top table to just look around the room at all the people that mean so much to us. It was the most amazing moment and I felt really blessed to have these people in my life.



My piece of advice for other couples – PLEASE don’t compare your wedding to anyone else’s. This is YOUR day together as a couple, enjoy it and do the things you want to do and that are important to you. The optics don’t matter! Things will go wrong but don’t let it get you stressed, be thankful you have your family and friends and the person you love around you!




Wedding venue: Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa | Photographer: Darren Byrne Photography and Film | Planner/coordinator: Kate Voice | Videographer: Darren Byrne & Julianna O’Shea | Musician and DJ: Electric Avenue | Hair: Declan Chapple of Powder Room Girls | Makeup: Lida Hertel of Powder Room Girls | Dress: Paperswan Bridal, Christchurch, New Zealand | Suits: Esquire in Limerick | Cake: Janey’s Cakery | Celebrant: Fr.Tony Gavin